What You Do Does Matter or The Really Cool Thing I Got To Wake Up To Today

It’s not very often that I get fan-mail.1

That being said, the e-mail to which I am referring is not strictly a subject which could easily fit into the category of fan-mail. Yes, the person who wrote the missive did complement me on my blog and say that he was interested in my works. Since his nom du plume had “SciFi” right in it, I take this as quite a compliment.

That, however, was not what actually made the e-mail such a great thing to wake up to.

The bulk of the e-mail explained how he had a homeroom teacher back in the 1970s when he attended Wilson Middle School. He noted that I looked “far, far too young” to be the person that he had had as a teacher,
6 but wondered if the person who he was thinking of might be a relative, as we shared the same last name.

He went on to say, and this is a direct quote,

“The man…was a tremendous teacher and truly influential on me, and if he is still alive I would like to be able to let him know this.”

The man he is talking about is my father.

My dad taught Social Studies to 6th through 8th graders in a school in Southwest Detroit. Although he has since moved on to another career, it gave me great pleasure to share his ex-student’s kind words with him.

I am not quite sure how to word this,
7 but I am still amazed by this. The person who contacted me remembered my dad after almost four decades. I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast last weekend, but this person was so moved by one of his teachers that he not only remembered him, but upon seeing his last name he went out of his way to track the individual down.

Let me expand upon this for a moment. I am not surprised that by the idea that people can be so moved by their teachers that they remember them years, even decades later. I still remember many of my teachers fondly and how they touched me. Ms. Sipes, (middle school) and Ms. Dinwiddie (high school) both encouraged my writing, as did my journalism teacher Mrs. Jones. I have fond memories of Mr. Pavia’s science class. There are many more, but I don’t want to turn this into a list of people I remember.

What I am trying to say is that despite the way that these teachers touched my life, I haven’t done anything to try and contact them over the years. To be honest, I’m more than a little embarrassed by this.

I am completely humbled by the actions of this particular Science Fiction fan. Naturally, I replied, letting him know how thankful I was for his kind words even as I forwarded the e-mail on to my father. I also asked if it would be OK to discuss the e-mail here on the blog as well as at the Boys and Girls Club where I tutor.

His response was “I’m also glad this touched you. The fact that he [my dad] will learn that after so many years I still reflect on his contributions to my life has really touched me as well. I am sure your tutoring will also do similar for the generation that will be running the world in 20 - 30 years. You and him together are helping make the world a better place than you found it.”

I am truly humbled by these kind words. I only hope that I can live up to them.

Now, if you will excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

1 I assume that this is because I am so impressive that my legion of fans is too awe struck to contact me.

2 That or no one has hear of me.
3 Take your pick.

3 Yet.

4 Sorry about the uncharacteristic bout of self-esteem.

5 I’m not sorry about the ridiculous number of footnotes which sprang off of one 8 word sentence.

6 Thank you!

7 It is never a good thing when an author is at a loss for words.

8 It’s not like I moved out of state or anything. I could probably ride my bike to my old high school.